1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
CORE CONCEPT: Every believer manifests the Holy Spirit in some way that is meant to be experienced by other people. You going to church is not about you, it is about other people being blessed BY YOU! If you don’t go you’re hurting everyone else. You must come expecting to edify others.
When you don’t go to church, it should be noticed that people are not experiencing the Holy Spirit in the special way He is manifested in you :-).
Points to remember:
- You can’t edify others if you’re spiritually dead. Read Scripture, pray, serve, walk by the Spirit. This will sharpen your gift.
- You reap what you sow. If you only receive you will never receive the blessing that comes with giving. If you are only receiving then consider yourself an infant Christian feasting on milk. Ironically, only God delivers the blessing that comes with giving…it takes faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)
The impression I get from most churches I’ve attended is that the people in the audience are there to receive and the professionals on stage are there to give. On the surface there does not seem to be anything too terribly wrong with this; after all, the people on stage are paid to feed the crowd right? Well, yes they are (except the volunteers of course) and this mentality can be very destructive for spiritual growth. Paid ministers do not preclude anyone in the crowd from contributing their spiritual gift. If you think about it, this is ridiculous. It is like having a paid coach teaching players how to play the game, but then the coach benching all the players and going out and playing by himself. But this is exactly what happens. The church service is centered around singing songs that feel good and listening to an entertaining message and then making a bee line for the door. THIS IS NOT CHURCH.
Church is the body of Christ. The body all moves together. The leaders (maybe the paid staff, or even the elders/deacons) are the joints that coordinate the movement of the body–that is, the actual service and manifestation of gifts in a particular body of believers. Paul describes this in the following passage:
Ephesians 4:12;16 says, “He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
I did not see the part where Paul says that the leaders were given to equip the saints to come and sit in the pews until service is over and then leave and do nothing for the congregation the rest of the week. BUT THIS IS THE CONCEPT OF CHURCH IN MANY CIRCLES.
Practical Point on this topic:
If you are not using the manifestation of your spiritual gift in the body of Christ (church or otherwise a circle of believers that you meet with) then you are useless. Think of it this way: If I am a hand but I am paralyzed in my hand and can’t use it, what would you call my hand? USELESS! It might as well be cut off and thrown away. For those who get offended by this I am reminded of brother Cain.
Genesis 4:4-7 “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
If you are useful and allowing the gift of the Spirit you have to be manifested in the body of Christ you will take no issue with all of this. But, if you are getting by as a Christian being someone who does not contribute in the way the Lord has gifted you then you may be wanting to hold onto that passivity. Please examine this. Be useful. It is a blessing to everyone including yourself.
**There is a travesty I have witnessed in the body and it is not necessarily uncommon. That is, believers who are not properly equipped by leaders and not given the opportunity to manifest their gifts. This could be due to controlling leadership or leaders who do not have the gift of leadership. If this is you, I would examine whether or not it is a good idea to stay in this body of believers. To be honest, why would you stay somewhere that you are not able to do what Scripture instructs you to do? In these cases, leadership may unknowingly be enabling the sheep to be passive and people who are given a free ride often do not object to it.